I am building my first smoker and am looking to avoid mistakes or problems others have already had. thanks in advance for all your help.
first abit about my history.
I have been smoking fish off and on for most of my life. I learned from my uncle who spent many years living in several remote villages while writing his doctoral thesis on some native alaskan "skin Boats". when I was about 15 the same uncle bought a comercial fishing site from a native family and the first summer some of the family stopped by and " Learned him right" on how to use the smokehouse and some other things around the site. we made "squaw candy" every summer. it wasn't till I was older that I began to understand why the squaw candy was so much different than all the other smoked salmon that other freinds and family made.
since I have a nearly unlimited access to salmon every summer you might guess that there was always smoked salmon around to eat. but as I got older and didn't spend summers at the fish site anymore I was reduced to a big chief smoker for smoking fish. never really had the time or the desire to go any further than that till now. this year I started making jerky and the stuff coming out of the smoker was SOOOO much better than the stuff made in the dehytrator that I need to build a smoker.
when I smoke salmon I use 3 big chiefs for one batch I wanted my smoker to have at least that much room. I am going to frame it out of 2x4s and cover with 3/4 in thick pallet wood with 45 deg edges overlapping each other. there will be a seperate insulated chamber on the bottom for smoke generation and the main chamber above for smokeing, with a seperate heating element. I am canibilzing an old stove for heating elements and controls and racks. I also have some other oven racks that I have been colecting for awhile for this project. the main chambe will be about 70 in tall and about 28 in wide and 24in deep depending on the size of all the racks I come up with. I will put a drip tray at the bottom of the smoking area above the heating element that will also double as a heat baffle. see my next post for a basic picture and my most pressing questions.